The government and civil society both came in for severe criticism at Sunday's all-party meet. Leaders cutting across political lines attacked the government for acting under pressure and ridiculed a section of the civil society who they felt were subverting parliamentary democracy.
The strongest attack came from the Samajwadi Party whose leader Mohan Singh sarcastically commented that the government should bring out a biography of Anna Hazare who it was mortally afraid of. His colleague Ram Gopal Yadav accused the Centre of functioning as Hazare's "shadow government."
Questioning the support civil society representatives had, Yadav wondered how the government could function if it is "afraid" of them. There's no sanctity to the jan lokpal bill, he said.
RJD's Lalu Prasad was equally sarcastic when he said the only institution civil society members had left out of their jan lokpal bill was the military. "Let them bring that also in it," he reportedly quipped in anger.
He also accused the government of degrading all institutions by going in for a dialogue with Hazare.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury wanted to know whether politicians like him were "uncivil."
In the backdrop of allegations that some civil society members were being backed by some parties, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah wondered what was happening to the well-laid out democratic process.
UPA ally Trinamool Congress too took a swipe, saying that civil society was not confined to Delhi only and the lokpal bill was a glorified investigative body. It also hit out at the media, which has been focusing on civil society, by asking "about the corruption in the media like paid news?"
CPI's Gurdudas Dasgupta was perhaps the only one batting for civil society.
"Don't ridicule the civil society", he said, adding that they also represented the "public opinion" that was raging against corruption. "Don't ridicule the media, which played a role in exposing the corruption in high places."